LIV just announced 4 new signings — here’s why they’re intriguing

Tyrrell Hatton at the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Tyrrell Hatton at the 2023 Ryder Cup.

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Wednesday morning marked a momentous day in the professional golf world.

The PGA Tour announced a massive investment — up to $3 billion — from the Strategic Sports Group on a 9:30 a.m. ET conference call. The deal guarantees purses for the next five years. It promises $1.5 billion in equity to players, who were referred to as “player-owners” on the call. And, commissioner Jay Monahan said, the deal allows negotiations with the Saudi Public Investment Fund to continue.

But in the meantime, LIV rolls on.

Just before the PGA Tour’s call, LIV Golf released the team rosters for its first event, which begins in two days. The rosters included several new names including PGA Tour winners, DP World Tour standouts and one top amateur. And while you probably knew about Jon Rahm — between his mega-contract, his letterman jacket and his dramatic departure, his signing was tough to miss — you’re forgiven if you missed reports on who’s joining him.

So let’s review LIV’s offseason additions — 10 of ’em in all, four of ’em just announced this week — and why they’re intriguing.


Jon Rahm is the captain of the all-new Legion XIII.

Intriguing because: If we’re grading LIV’s offseason, the report card really starts and ends with Jon Rahm. Everything else is essentially fine print. Time will still tell what Rahm’s departure means from a business perspective, but signing one of the game’s very best players — someone who was also a central piece of the PGA Tour’s future plans — marked a shift in the narrative and the actual competitive balance between the two leagues.

The news is now more than a month old but this will be the first time we actually see Rahm in LIV competition. No question that’s the biggest offseason move.


Kalle Samooja is joining the Cleeks, captained by Martin Kaymer.

Kieran Vincent is joining Legion XIII, captained by Rahm.

And Jinichiro Kozuma is joining the Iron Heads, captained by Kevin Na.

These three were confirmed to LIV in December, but just as a refresher: Finland’s Kalle Samooja, South Africa’s Kieran Vincent and Japan’s Jinichiro Kozuma made it through LIV’s Promotions event, replacing relegated golfers and earning spots for the entire 2024 season.

Intriguing because: Even though there were only three players that made it through, this marked LIV’s first Q-school-style event. That’s a step in the direction of meritocracy, the lack of which has always been an easy knock on LIV’s guaranteed-contract format. As LIV continues to chase legitimacy entering its second full season, opening a window to the league’s closed system is an intriguing development.


1. Tyrrell Hatton has signed with Rahm’s new team, Legion XIII. Per reports, Hatton’s was the final contract to get signed, with negotiations coming down to the wire; the Telegraph first reported the signing earlier this week and cited a figure in the range of $60 million.

Intriguing because: Hatton is the World No. 16. Like Rahm, he was a member of this fall’s European Ryder Cup team. He’s unquestionably the second-biggest addition of the offseason (behind Rahm) and immediately becomes one of LIV’s best players. Hatton is also among golf’s more intriguing watches; he’s explosive and expressive and dynamic and the PGA Tour will miss him.

2. Caleb Surratt has signed with Legion XIII, too; the Tennessee sophomore is turning pro coming off an All-American first-year campaign.

Intriguing because: Surratt is one of the top amateurs in the world. He was a Walker Cupper. He’s No. 10 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and No. 4 in DataGolf’s amateur ranking. The fact that he’s chosen to chase a future with LIV instead of the more traditional path to the PGA Tour speaks to golf’s new world order and the offerings available to youngsters looking for guaranteed money. At first it was easy to point to LIV signees as past their prime; Rahm and Surratt make it clear that’s not true.

3. Adrian Meronk will be the next member of LIV’s Cleeks, rounding out an all-European squad captained by Martin Kaymer. He’s ranked No. 42 in the world.

Intriguing because: Meronk was just about to kick off his PGA Tour career when he re-routed to LIV instead. After a big-time 2022-23 season that included three DP World Tour wins, Meronk finished atop the rankings of DP World Tour pros without a PGA Tour card, thus earning dual membership for 2024. This isn’t some has-been looking for a lifeline. It’s a player who was good enough to be in Ryder Cup consideration last year — and with PGA Tour access this year! — choosing LIV instead. That’s noteworthy.

4. Lucas Herbert will round out the Ripper GC squad captained by Cameron Smith.

Intriguing because: Nobody would mistake Herbert for a superstar but he’s another top 100 player and PGA Tour winner who’s choosing LIV. His presence does two things: It adds to the depth of the league’s midfield and it strengthens the Aussie identity of Smith’s LIV side, which now boasts arguably four of the top eight Aussies in the world.


Hudson Swafford and Laurie Canter will play Mayakoba as individuals.

Intriguing because: This marks the first time that LIV has expanded its field beyond players on teams. Until this year there had been 12 teams of four players each, which divided nicely to 16 threesomes for their shotgun starts. With the addition of Rahm’s new team, LIV had 52-player fields — but now they’re adding two individuals to jump to 54, which not only goes well with the whole LIV thing but also leaves them with 18 threesomes, one per hole. That bit makes logical sense — although two floating pros in a league that’s trumpeting team play is a bit odd.

As I understand it, Swafford has his spot locked up for the year, which creates a fascinating dynamic (I hope he gives himself a team name!) while Canter’s spot will rotate out. Swafford missed most of the 2023 season with an injury, while Canter just missed out on one of the three Promotions spots.


There remain more questions than answers around LIV Golf and its future. Where do negotiations stand between the Saudi PIF — the source of LIV’s funding — and the PGA Tour, particularly after Wednesday’s SSG announcement? Does LIV have a pathway to World Ranking points? How will the addition of Rahm and the start of a new season affect TV ratings (and therefore team and league value) after a disappointing 2023? And should the two sides come to a deal, how would LIV be integrated, anyway?

But those are long-term questions. In the short-term we’ve got golf! The PGA Tour launching its next era of Signature Events this week at Pebble Beach. LIV is launching its next season at Mayakoba. We’ll see you out there.

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